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Day 7: The Dingle Peninsula


Hugs to the Dingle Peninsula!

We said goodbye the night before to our hosts Fabien and Julie because we knew we wouldn’t see them in the morning. They woke up really early to leave for work and we like to sleep in until nine. When we rose for the day, we took some showers and quickly got our bags ready to leave. We had a long day ahead of us! We were going to drive around the Dingle Peninsula, a small little peninsula jutting out the west coast of Ireland. Ireland has a funny little shape, this part of Ireland looks like the ends of a grisly old man’s beard - the Dingle Peninsula is just one of the frayed ends. From Cork, it was about two hours just to get to the village of Dingle, the main town on this peninsula. So off we went.


The area we circled was where we explored on this day!

Along the way we saw lots of tiny towns, sheep, cattle, and that multicolored green afghan Mother Nature created that I described in so many of the other Ireland blogs. At the first sight of the ocean we stopped in a village called Inch. In Gaelic, "inch" means "beach" so this little beach we found was literally called beach in Gaelic. We decided to stop off and parked on the beach where other visitors parked as well. The day was breezy and the sky was somber but that didn’t stop us from having a happy time. Being on Inch beach reminded us of our life on the Oregon Coast, where we would go to the beach almost every day with Sparky and run around, no matter how cold or rainy it was. If you want to read more about that sign up for my email list and you can get the first few chapters of my book a year against the rain for free.



The grass here was so graceful in the way that it moved in the wind. From afar, it looked like ripples of water moving so slightly - like the flick of a paintbrush. Behind the grassy fields were knolls of sand, questionable of how these dunes got here. Austin and I walked the beach and ran away from the incoming waves that chased us back towards the field. It was fun looking for pink seashells and watching the other visitors walk along the beach too. We decided to walk in the grassy fields, to feel the refreshing energy wash over us. When we looked on the path, we noticed snails everywhere. Being the bug enthusiasts we are, we decided to pick them up and let them slither all over our hands, the sensation so cooling and like the feeling of magic. They sent tingling energy into our hands. Then Austin decided to climb up on top of a dune and just like in Oregon, he jumped off the top and onto the side - a big old splat sound as he landed and his feet stuck in the sand. He did this a few times, and on the last one he went even further and jumped, ran down the rest of it and did a somersault into the grass. We only spent about 30 minutes here before we left and made our way towards Dingle.



A lot of people seem to hype up Dingle, though to us it was just another coastal Irish town. Most of the buildings had bright fluorescent colors on them, painted in different color pallets of rainbows. I suppose that they paint buildings such bright colors in Ireland to help you feel more cheery, as the weather is usually cloudy and gloomy most of the year. We could definitely feel that cheer as we walked around the village. I decided to get all of my gifts for my friends here so the first stop was a yarn shop where I found a couple of skeins that I could make hats out of for some special friends. After that we continued along yellow, pink, and blue buildings until we got to the harbor.



There were lots a little food carts that were like stands built into a wall. Kind of like a mall that has those garage doors that you shut when they're closed. We looked at our list of choices for a bite to eat and decided on a crêpe stand. While I was in Germany years ago we would get Nutella crepes all the time. They were so good and satisfying and made you feel so warm inside. There was a guy was selling Nutella crepes in Dingle so we stopped at his stand. Disclaimer: this place was not vegan. I mentioned in a previous blog post that we choose to eat vegan while we’re at home and in our regular daily lives but sometimes when we travel we like to break away from that and allow ourselves to experience what we want in the moment. So we just went for it. I decided to get a smore‘s flavored Nutella crêpe that had marshmallows in it, and Austin got one that was Canadian themed, filled with cinnamon and maple syrup. We sat ourselves down by the harbor to watch the boats go by and to see the tourist sign up for dolphin Tours nearby. Everyone around us was so happy and joyful and each person that looked at you gave you a warm smile, sometimes even waved and said hello. It was so refreshing to feel this friendliness from strangers, kind of like a glimpse into the human spirit to know that others have good intentions too, and that everyone has kindness within them. It also feels good to spread that back and to give that friendliness to others. On our way back to the car we found the store called the dolphin shop. I decided to go in and look for a gift for my housemate and ended up finding these wonderful fairy earrings. We often talk about fairies and dolphins as they are big parts of our lives, we experience them almost every day which is pretty amazing. Maybe it’s a Sedona thing, or maybe there’s just a group of people like us that believe in fairytales.



We drove along the Dingle Peninsula on the south end to get to the point. We ended up coming to a smaller peninsula that was called Slea Head, also known as Dunmore Head. If you’ve seen Star Wars - The Last Jedi, this area of Ireland was a big filming location. Skellig Island is just off the coast of this area but to get there you need to take a ferry. Sometimes you have to go on a specific day because weather conditions are very iffy in Ireland. Austin I got out and climbed all over this peninsula. It started out with the gate that you had to open and then you had to climb over a rock wall. They build these intricate structures so the sheep that are grazing within the park cannot get out - just be wary of this if you’re going to be hiking in this area. We walked up a rocky hill around the head to open up to a great scene before us. There were triangular rocks jotting out of the ocean, some of them had green on them from grass and other plants, others were just pure black and jagged like they just decided to grow out of the ocean. In the distance you could see bigger islands called the Blasket Islands covered in green with no houses or anything on them. You can go and tour these but again you need to take a ferry over there.



When you looked back to the mainland, the water was pure turquoise, so clear and clean like nothing has ever touched it at all. The sun decided to come out during this time and the temperature rose drastically. We were blazing even though we were in our rain coats and sweaters. Austin and I noticed a cool little area, the furthest you can go on the head out into the water. Both of us ran down the path to get there. No one that was visiting this area went down onto the cliff, so we were completely alone with the crashing waves and screaming seagulls. We decided to re-create a scene from Star Wars and have a light saber fight on the edge of the cliff. We sat and enjoyed the views for a while, a meditation in itself just listening to the ocean move below us. At the top of the hill was a very old cement structure that had some silly writing on it, happy birthday it said on the side. There were four windows that opened up to the ocean and inside was a fireplace that looked like it was recently used. Austin climbed up on top of this building so he could get a better view and I just watched him carefully to make sure he didn’t fall down.



Then on our way down we noticed that there were these interesting rocks on the grass. Austin decided to pick one up and we quickly realized that it was sheep poop, kind of in the form of buffalo chips if you’ve ever seen those. He decided he didn’t care, all the sheep ate anyway was grass so in a sense it was just grass that he was holding in a different form. We ran down the hill and back to the car, hot as can be since the temperature raised with the sun. And then we went on our way.


The accident of picking up sheep doo XD "It's just grass in a different form!" he says...

For the next hour, we drove along the Wild Atlantic Way which is the old narrow road that goes all along the west coast of Ireland from the southern point to the northern point. It was our intention to do some of the Wild Atlantic Way though we knew there was no way we were going to be able to do all of it, even in the one week time frame that we had all around this area. We just decided to tour the Dingle Peninsula as the southern part part and we quickly went into a different world. All the street signs went from English and Gaelic - to just Gaelic so there was nothing we could rely on other than the blue symbol that told us we were on the Wild Atlantic Way. The Dingle Peninsula could only be driven around from the town of Dingle clockwise, and you had to go back to Dingle before you could go any further. There’s no going all the way around it, probably for privacy reasons for the people that live in those areas, and it was pretty mountains here. Again we saw lots of sheep, tiny tiny towns in the distance, and at the very tip of the peninsula was a large mountain that sloped inland. It appeared as though the towns were enclosed and safe from a brash storm from sea by this large land feature. We came back to Dingle and did our best to avoid traffic by taking the back roads through the residential areas and then we found our way back to the Wild Atlantic Way.